Did you know that hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States? It affects approximately 48 million Americans, including a third of people over 65 and half older than 75. With these statistics, you know someone with hearing loss who has yet to be treated.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 28.8 million US adults could benefit from hearing aids. Hearing aids are acquired after a hearing loss has been identified through comprehensive hearing tests.
If you believe that your loved one is experiencing the signs of hearing loss, you may want to reach out to them. Offering support during this experience is incredibly important, as untreated hearing loss comes with many difficulties. Untreated hearing loss could lead to social isolation, lower earning power, and an increased risk for depression, stress, and anxiety. It has also been linked to a higher risk for dementia. Hearing aids provide many benefits, from increased cognitive abilities to healthy interpersonal relationships.
Because hearing loss can be a sensitive topic, the way you approach your loved one about hearing loss can mean the difference between them seeking treatment or refusing to do so. Here are a few tips for broaching this sensitive subject.
Do Your Research
Before you approach your loved one, spend some time researching hearing loss. There are many resources online about hearing loss experience, the types and causes, consequences of leaving it untreated, and possible treatment options. Many national organizations raise awareness about hearing loss with local chapters that provide more relevant regional information.
With statistics and information about hearing loss, you’ll be better equipped to encourage your loved ones to address their potential hearing loss.
Find a Quiet, Private Location
Communication can be difficult for people who experience hearing loss. You may have noticed your loved one asking you to speak up, speak louder, or repeat yourself. Over time, this can be frustrating for all parties involved in the conversation. With this in mind, it is essential to find a quiet and private location to bring up the issue of hearing loss.
Try to find a space where there is not a lot of background noise or other people around. If you plan to approach your loved one in a group, try to keep the number of people small and ensure that it is a group of trusted friends and loved ones.
Some people may be defensive about their hearing abilities, so you’ll want to make sure it is a safe space.
Tell Your Loved One About Your Personal Experience of Their Hearing Loss
Rather than pointing out what your loved one does or doesn’t do, share your personal experience with them. Tell them about the times you’ve repeated yourself or had to translate for them in social settings. If you’ve noticed that they’ve been withdrawn lately or do not interact as they have in the past, share how this has affected your experience with them. You may feel hurt or frustrated.
Your loved one may already be aware of their changing hearing abilities. By learning about your experiences with them and how hearing challenges affect your relationship, your loved one may be more willing to address the issue.
Listen and Ask Questions
After you’ve finished speaking, allow your loved one to respond. Listen actively and ask open-ended questions that could help you better understand their experiences. People deal with personal health issues very differently, so be sure that you give them space and make sure they feel comfortable and safe.
Offer Your Support for Next Steps
Though hearing loss is a challenge, it is essential to stay positive. There are many options to improve hearing abilities. With significant advancements in hearing technology, sophisticated devices address hearing loss’s different forms and configurations.
Encourage your loved one to take the first step toward better hearing health by taking a hearing test. Offer your support for the steps to come, such as accompanying your loved one to their appointment.
We offer comprehensive hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, and more! Contact us for an appointment. We’re happy to support you through this process to better hearing.